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It got a lot of attention last week when “This American Life,” the National Public Radio (NPR) program, spent an entire hour retracting a previously aired story that excerpted Mike Daisey’s one man stage show about Apple’s questionable manufacturing processes in China.

Daisey’s show, which closed its New York run over the weekend, essentially is a monolog about what he discovered during a visit to China about Apple’s suppliers and how they exploit Chinese workers. The show got much attention, prompting a wide range of newspaper and magazine articles, and was excerpted by “This American Life.” However, once the piece aired, another NPR reporter, Rob Schmitz, a reporter from “Marketplace,” thought he saw flaws in the story and he decided to do some further fact checking. At which point much of Daisey’s narrative fell apart.

As David Carr writes in the New York Times this morning, “No one is suggesting that everything about Apple’s supply chain is suddenly hunky-dory, but the heroic narrative of a fearless theater artist taking on the biggest company in the world is now a pile of smoking rubble.”

Carr’s excellent piece can be found here.

And you can hear the remarkable “This American Life” story here.
KC's View:
I bring this up because the whole question of Apple’s manufacturing processes got some attention here a few weeks ago, and I thought it worth referencing.

What is remarkable about Daisey’s defense of his stage show is that he says it is theater, not journalism ... and yet, he was willing to allow it to be presented as journalism, and he presented it as truth. Which it was not. In my view, he’s delusional.

The question of how Apple’s products are manufactured and at what cost deserves to be addressed, and I suspect the new regime there will give it increased attention. But Daisey’s missteps have not helped his cause.